1960's - The Music Revolution
A education in the 60s. Different system, different world ?
At the end of the 1950's, the British Pop Charts were more or less American, either American artistes or British Artistes covering American songs.
The first two years of the 60's continued this trend. Managers and Impressario's were desperately searching for something which was uniguely British.
They did and not only changed the course of British popular music, but turned the tables on the USA where they were following us for the rest of the decade.
I don't need to go into much detail, but in a small Liverpool Club 'The Cavern', a chap called Brian Epstein, took them under his wing and the revolution began.
Suddenly in late 1962 and early 1963, we were bombarded with the new sound. The first 'Groups' as we called them came from Liverpool; The Beatles, Gerry and the Pacemakers, Billy J. Kramer, The Searchers and the Undertakers to name but a few.
But by then, Groups were forming all over the Country. The Animals came along with 'The House of the Rising Sun', teenagers raced out to buy a Guitar - it went mad.
There were some specialist Groups playing in Clubs such as 'The Marquee', playing American Rythm and Blues etc. These included the likes of The Rolling Stones and Manfred Mann. As 'being famous and making loads of cash' came to the fore, they too changed their Act in a delicate fashion to be 'in' and they too joined the Pop / Rock machine.
Some Big American names survived this. People like Elvis Presley, The Beach Boys, Gene Pitney. But they had to go along with the new trend and they came out with The Byrds, The Eagles etc. and by the end of the 60's were close up behind us. After all, in theory, they invented popular music!
By the mid 60's we were in Dreamland. Britain had a Labour Prime Minister, we won the World Cup and the Summer of Love happened.
I recall as if it were yesterday going to the Hyde Park Concerts and 'hanging loose'. The Youth and the Music reflected the great change from a post war Britain to a New Britain which wanted new, new, new.
The Beatles by then had gone into more experimental music, but were still topping the Charts in doing so. The only downer of this period was that a lot of the music was both written and perforrmed under the influence of not such good things!
The Who brought in the Mods craze and British Seaside towns on a Bank Holiday Monday resembled a war zone rather than 'Kiss me Quick' and naughty postcards.
But with the political revolution which was running along side it all added up to a bonanza of feel good factors.
The Prime Minister of the time, Harold Wilson, saw the potentia in entertaining the celebrities, maybe the first Master of Spin! He would have Pop Stars, Footballers and even, bless him, the winners of the Eurovision Song Contest pre Terry Wogan.
For me it was all going on in the most influental years of my life and I was going with, except the Mass Demo's etc. which I stayed clear off.
In 1969 I was playing in a Band and life was good.
I had a very varied taste. I could watch and listen to anything, but mainlined on The Moody Blues, The Zombies, The Beach Boys and any band which had a good lead guitarist - come in Fleetwood Mac, The Yardbirds, John Mayall's Bluesbreakers.
But between all this I was quite content going to the Royal Albert Hall for a Beethoven Concert.
I wouldn't go so far as to say as John Miles sang 'Music is my first love and it will be my last', but it is high on my life agenda, I never stop using lines from songs to describe something and I feel privileged that I was around in the prime of my life during a decade which changed the World, much of this owing to the changing world of music and entertainment.